Legislator urges voting rights for Sri Lankans back home

Sunil Handunnetti
Updated 23 January 2017
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Legislator urges voting rights for Sri Lankans back home

RIYADH: Visiting Sri Lankan legislator Sunil Handunnetti told Arab News that the country’s expatriates should be given voting rights, and that their community schools should be affiliated to the Education Ministry in Colombo.
Handunnetti, chairman of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) in Parliament, was on a brief visit to Riyadh to tell his countrymen about his brainchild, the Organization for Overseas Sri Lankans (OOSL).
Handunnetti, who was given a red-carpet welcome by his countrymen, met Sri Lankan expatriates in the capital and explored ways of assisting them back home.
He told Arab News that he was happy that Sri Lankan workers are happily placed in the Kingdom, but that their interests in their homeland had to be looked after.
“Irrespective of the period of stay in the Kingdom, Sri Lankans are natural citizens of the island and they should have their civic rights back home. They should be given voting rights to elect their own representatives to Parliament,” he said, adding that his organization would do its best in this regard.
He said returnees from the Kingdom should be given full assistance to earn a living back home, including a duty-free allowance to import machinery to continue their businesses. “They should be given a monthly pension to keep the home fires burning,” he added.
Handunnetti said he had visited some 20 countries and has set up the OOSL in 26 countries. “They have nothing to do with the local set up, and will only work for their countrymen’s welfare back home,” he added.
He said he would make representations to concerned authorities to make overseas Sri Lankan community schools affiliated to the Education Ministry in Colombo, so teachers and students will be treated as if they are in Sri Lankan government schools.
He lamented that Sri Lankan expatriates are treated as foreigners when they want to admit their children to Sri Lankan universities, and that they have to pay exorbitant fees.
He thanked Saudi authorities for hosting his countrymen and thereby helping their homes and motherland.


Arab Parliament organizes training workshop

Dr. Meshaal bin Fahm Al-Salami
Updated 16 July 2018
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Arab Parliament organizes training workshop

  • Speakers discussed the implementation of the Arab Parliamentary Training Strategy
  • It was agreed to adopt successful initiatives in some public secretariats, including the models implemented by the Saudi Shoura Council

JEDDAH: Dr. Meshaal bin Fahm Al-Salami, the speaker of the Arab Parliament, has said the parliamentary research, information and training center of the Pan-Arab Parliament, is working on developing high-level training programs, to raise the efficiency of the leadership, working cadres and members of the secretariats.
Al-Salami was speaking on behalf of Abdul-Azim Al-Babli, assistant secretary-general of the Arab Parliament, at the opening of a high-level workshop.
Speakers also discussed the implementation of the Arab Parliamentary Training Strategy, which aims at bridging the gap between the theoretical and academic aspects and the practical aspects of activating technical performances of the secretariats in Arab Parliaments, adapting to information technology and modern technologies to improve performance.
It was also agreed to adopt successful initiatives in some public secretariats, including the models implemented by the Saudi Shoura Council, the General Secretariat of Shoura Council, in the Sultanate of Oman and the model submitted by the National Assembly of Kuwait.